The Northern Province today said the month of November will be dedicated to planting trees. The project, which will see 500,000 trees planted, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Wigneswaran. TNA MPs Sritharan, Saravanapavan and Siddharthan, the NPC's agricultural minister Aiyngaranesan and education minister Gurukularajah, NPC Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan and several other officials attended the event in Semmani, alongside pupils from local schools.
On October 30, 1995, over half a million Tamil men, women and children fled their homes in Jaffna, ahead of a major military offensive by the Sri Lankan government led by Chandrika Kumaratunga, in what became known as the Jaffna Exodus. The entire town of Jaffna, the largest Tamil population centre in Sri Lanka, streamed out in a mass exodus for the safety of the Vanni, which was then controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Walking for several miles east, crossing the Navatkuli bridge, the throngs of people, carrying whatever they could manage, made their way to the neck of the Jaffna peninsula, before making the dangerous boat journey on to Kilinochchi.
Police officers who were convicted but then released on appeal for the massacre of Tamil political detainees in 2000 (Virakesari) Fifteen years ago an armed mob of Sinhala villagers stormed a rehabilitation centre and killed at least 28 Tamil youths, as security forces stood by and even joined in. The centre in the southern town of Bindunuwewa was jointly run by several bodies, including the Presidential Secretariat, under then-president Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Child Protection Authority, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Dozens of Tamil youths in their late teens and early twenties were held here on suspicion of supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, supposedly undergoing rehabilitation for a few months before their release. A few days before the massacre, detainees protested against prolonged detention, sometimes over a year, and the deliberate withholding of letters from relatives by the authorities. The next morning a mob of local Sinhalese, reported by UTHR to be 2,000 strong, had formed outside the detention facility. They entered the centre and attacked the inmates with knives, machetes, clubs and iron rods, and set fire to the residence halls. Police officers stood by and in at least one instance opened fire on the inmates. A military detachment in the area was also withdrawn the previous day, indicating a premeditated attack.
Updated: 2100 GMT Photographs: Tamil Guardian Thousands of Tamils in Jaffna attended the funeral of the former head of the Women’s political wing division in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Subramaniam Sivakamy. Her funeral was attended by Tamil politicians from across the North-East, including from the TNA, TNPF and TULF.
Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena returned from his trip to the UN General Assembly in New York to a triumphant welcome, as Singhalese across the south celebrated the UNHRC resolution as a victory over the imposition of international involvement in a hybrid mechanism. Huge crowds had gathered at the airport to receive the president, as Buddhist monks chanted and bestowed blessing on him. Speaking soon after his arrival, President Sirisena said Sri Lanka "achieved a great victory" , as the international community appreciated steps taken by the government to address human rights concerns, while the government succeeded in averting the " electric chair ", an international investigation, and a hybrid special court in the resolution passed on Thursday.
A consensus resolution to deal with the findings of the UN report into Sri Lanka’s atrocities was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday. The consensus resolution was passed after two weeks of intense drafting negotiations between the co-sponsors, the government of Sri Lanka and civil society activists. CJA warns against attempts to 'water down' UN resolution on Sri Lanka (24 Sep 2015) The resolution was initially drafted by a core group of sponsors, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Sri Lanka. Albania, Australia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Poland and Romania signed on to the resolution as co-sponsors. Welcoming the resolution, Sri Lanka's envoy thanked the council for its support to pass the resolution. Addressing the human rights council the envoy added, "We are eager to commence widespread recommendations in a manner to expand the ownership of the resolution to all relevant stake holders." See also: Sri Lanka says it is ready to begin consultations (02 Oct 2015) Tamil diaspora critical for meaningful dialogue on Sri Lanka says South Africa (02 Oct 2015) India reiterates need for meaningful devolution of political authority in Sri Lanka (02 Oct 2015) Sri Lanka must ‘undertake a difficult but essential journey’ - US (02 Oct 2015) See finalised text of resolution A_HRC_30_L29 here . See live twitter feed from statements here . The United States said the goal of the recently passed resolution at the UN Human Rights Council is to “to help Sri Lanka undertake a difficult but essential journey”, with Ambassador Keith Harper telling the council "we welcome that this resolution recognizes the critical role of continued OHCHR engagement.” Sri Lanka must ‘undertake a difficult but essential journey’ - US (02 Oct 2015) Speaking to Tamil press shortly after the resolution was passed, TNA Member of Parliament MA Sumanthiran said, "The resolution was a landmark step forward in the process to achieve accountability, yet there was still a long way to go. To achieve the results we want we will have to participate in the process and work with it to our advantage." Speaking to the Tamil Guardian shortly after the resolution was passed, Human Rights Watch Geneva Director John Fisher said, "The government have committed to the expectations and benchmarks in the resolution by co-sponsoring it. Whatever one feels about what may come of the next steps, it seems they are keen to re-establish relations with international community after the tough past. The opportunity now lies before them. Of course the real proof is the extent to which they engage meaningfully with consultations, setting up time frames and deliverables and begin to implement recommendations. Some are complicated and will take time such as what a court with international involvement would look like. However things like legislative reform and engagement with various communities and the messaging they send out domestically about their commitments can be done in the short turm. We will soon see the extent of their commitments to bring about full implementation of the resolution. " See also:
Non-Governmental Organisations stressed the importance of ongoing monitoring in Sri Lanka, an internationalised judicial process for accountability, ending ongoing violations against the majority victim Tamil community and seeking a lasting political solution during the general debate on the OISL report into Sri Lanka on Wednesday. Addressing member states of the UNHRC during the debate, United Nations Watch condemning the ongoing “oppression of the Tamils” in Sri Lanka, called on the new government to “end impunity” and deliver a credible process for reconciliation and accountability.
Updated 01 Oct 2015 09:21 GMT There were strong calls from member states at the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday for the new Sri Lankan government to deliver concrete steps on its said commitments towards justice and accountability, as the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL) was discussed at the Council. Find our live coverage of the discussion on our Twitter feed here . Introducing the debate High Commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, reiterated the report's recommendation that a hybrid special court be established in order to give confidence to the victims and their families in the process of justice and accountability.
Lt. Col. Thileepan addresses crowds at Nallur, Jaffna as he commences his hunger strike. Today marks the 28th anniversary of the death of Lt. Col Thileepan, after he fasted to death on hunger strike, appealing to the Indian government to honour pledges made to the Tamil people.
UPDATED: 1845 GMT A resolution calling for a "credible justice process" with " Commonwealth and other foreign judges" in order to prosecute for mass atrocities committed during the final stages of the island's armed conflict has been tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. See the full text of the resolution here . It calls for a "credible justice process" with "independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and impartiality" and "Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators" . It also requests the Office of the High Commissioner to "present an oral update" to the Council at the 32nd session in June 2016 and present a "comprehensive report followed by discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at its 34th session" in March 2017. The OHCHR will also continue to assess progress on implementation of the recommendations listed in the OISL report.